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I have a friend with a child who is experiencing coughing fits apparently due to exercise-induced asthma. A doctor has recommended Albuterol. Since the child is active every day in sports, it would mean taking Albuterol every day for many years.

Is this drug safe for use like this, or will there be potentials dangers or loss in effectiveness if using it every day for many years?

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Albuterol is a short-duration ß2-receptor agonist (to which it owes its main effect, bronchodilation); and while it can produce some effect on ß1-receptors (producing effects such as tachycardia), these will still be short-lived due to the short-acting nature of the drug itself.

More reliable exercise-induced asthma information here:

http://www.uptodate.com/contents/exercise-induced-asthma-beyond-the-basics?source=search_result&search=Salbutamol&selectedTitle=2%7E10

Also, I cannot comment on Chris' response, but most of the information he gave is irrelevant; and some of it is downright incorrect. Steroids are not prescribed "to make sure Albuterol is safe for you"; the actual reason is that Asthma is primarily an inflammatory condition that responds very well to inhaled corticosteroids as first-line therapy. These are added to therapy when the asthma is anything more severe than "sporadic, mild crises that respond to short-acting bronchodilators."

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I had to look this up as I had only heard of Salbutamol which I have found out is exactly the same thing. Albuterol is the generic name for Salbutamol.

I have Salbutamol inhalers (Ventolin - blue inhalers) to use in event of asthma attacks along with a brown Beclometasone inhaler as a preventer, and I have had them since very young. These inhalers are safe to use over many years as long as you follow the dosage recommended by the doctor.

Dosage is different from person to person and will need reviewing regularly by your doctor. Albuterol overdose can be fatal so any overdose will need urgent medical assistance.

Overdose symptoms may include dry mouth, tremors, chest pain, fast heartbeats, nausea, general ill feeling, seizure (convulsions), feeling light-headed or fainting.

You must also

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to albuterol: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

also,

You should not use ProAir RespiClick if you are allergic to milk proteins.

In order to make sure albuterol inhalation is safe for you, you or your child may also be taking an antiinflammatory medicine, such as a steroid (cortisone-like medicine), together with this medicine. Do not stop taking the antiinflammatory medicine, even if your asthma seems better, unless you are told to do so by your doctor. Also:

tell your doctor if you have:

  • heart disease, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure;
  • a heart rhythm disorder;
  • a seizure disorder such as epilepsy;
  • diabetes;
  • overactive thyroid; or
  • low levels of potassium in your blood.

It is not known whether albuterol will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

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